Mustard Seed: A Definite Must Pitch Event

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There are a lot of pitching events in Europe's startups hubs. One of them is Mustard Seed - find our why this one's a definite must attend for you!

Mustard Seed, a renown pitching event and venture capitalist comes to Rotterdam to give the local startups the chance to pitch for up to 800.000 Euros.

Where It All started

What do you do when you want to start a business but have no idea what? Instead of settling for one idea the other option is to make many ideas happen and this is what Mustard Seed did. Two young individuals, Alex Pitt and Henry Wigan, were done with working for large corporates and decided to set up a venture capitalist fund to make the best ideas in social entrepreneurship happen.

Where They Are Now

After events at Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics and now Erasmus University, Mustard Seed has so far invested in five startups and plans to continue to invest in 5 to 10 startups a year. They find these events through supporting pitching events at different universities and working together with entrepreneurship organizations such as ECE Students to make it happen.

How To Get An Investment

Simply put, Mustard Seed is looking for great entrepreneurs who want to make the world a better place. At first, they had no idea what to expect from hosting such a pitching event but already from the beginning their events were filled with students desiring to create an impact. Their main focus when looking at a startup is for:

  1. Commercially sustainable business.
  2. That the financial and social return are not mutually exclusive.

Rotterdam’s First Mustard Seed

In the sustainability hub at the heart of the Erasmus University, the event started off with inspiring talks from ECE, Impact Hub Amsterdam, Women on Wings and the Punchy Pack. ECE opened the event with the wise words: “Entrepreneurship as an attitude, as a skill, is the key to making progress” putting everyone in the right attribute to start thinking beyond their own startup how social entrepreneurship is changing the world. And it truly is, Impact Hub now has 65 hubs all around the world building a strong collaborative community. Dutch based startups are making a difference, Women on Wings  are aiming to create employment for a 1 million women in India and are well on their way to achieving this having already created nearly 200.000 jobs. Beyond employment they believe “sharing knowledge and skills is just as important as micro financing” and have a network of individuals aiming to achieve this. Slightly closer to home, the Punchy Pack highlights how Generation Y is making a mark in terms of social entrepreneurship. As the youth of today, we are argued to be lazy yet our actions speak in a different ways, it is our social network that is our power. People such as Mason who started a pizza joint where you pay two dollars for two pizza slices, one for yourself and one for someone in need. The walls are filled with photos of pizza slices for those who cannot afford one.

The Newest Startups Of The Netherlands

So with all this talk of startups, which ones were at Mustard Seed to make their mark. The level varied greatly with some just started such as Artisto, aiming to help young artists sell their work through a combination of online and offline. Levina’s Eco Solutions also is just in the market research stage but hoping to help link entrepreneurs in the Netherlands to collaborate with those in developing countries.

From The Netherlands To Tanzania

Coincidently two out of the eight start ups pitching focused on helping Tanzania and their 40 million farmers. One focused on food whilst the other focused on weather. The Kembe Foundation hopes to develop a sunflower production and produce sunflower oil there, which is a key stable to the local diet. Not only will this help nourishment (avoid people using less healthy oils) but will also create jobs. Kurkua Weather Station takes a different angle and focuses on getting weather information to local farmers to improve crops. There should be 900 weather stations to cover Tanzania but instead there are only forty so far from enough. Using Solar Panels they are able to build weather stations for 300 Euros.

Making A Difference To The Netherlands & Beyond

So The Kembe Foundation stated at the end of their pitch little by little becomes a lot and this is certainly the case for the City Game. Their app encourages people to do one good deed per day which so far has resulted in 4000 good deeds being done from donating to various charities to donating blood. Konnecktid focuses on sharing knowledge rather than good deeds. Providing education for everyone by an online platform to connect people to engage in offline learning. They already have 600.000 people online. Discovered also has been around for a longer amount of time helping Artisans abroad sell handmade goods locally. Finally, the last startup of the day was Tijdmunt, an alternative currency based on time.

The Audience’s Favorite

Overall, there were many inspiring start ups all ready or getting ready to make a difference at Mustard Seed, whether through helping artists such as Artisto or through helping the developing world such as Kurkua Weather Station, The Kembe Foundation and Levina’s Eco Solutions. Whilst Mustard Seed has not yet decided who they would like to invest it the audience did get the chance to pick their favorite. And the winner is…. Kurkua Weather Station. Oliver Smeenk and his startup will soon be helping local farmers deal with the issue of micro climates, hopefully with the help of an investment of Mustard Seed as well.

So what ever your social entrepreneurship idea/startup is take a chance to attend such an event. The next ones up are in Copenhagen, Lisbon, Cape Town and Oxford. Or even better, get in contact with Mustard Seed, host one of their events to help social entrepreneurs in your area. It is a great opportunity to learn and improve your startup or be inspired by the startups of tomorrow as an audience member.



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